DNA | Access to Finance, Business.govt

Role: Senior Experience Designer

Skills: UX design, user research, user testing & synthesis, interaction design

Client: Business.govt

Research outcomes: Funding Explorer

Research outcomes: Kiwi Business Boost

Project Overview:

I worked on ongoing programmes of work with business.govt.nz to provide digital tools and resources to make it easier for small businesses in New Zealand to succeed.

During these projects I got to travel the country meeting with small business owners, business advisors and those in the small to medium business finance industry. These insights were able to then inform the work we would do at DNA developing ideas and solutions to support and empower small business owners to grow and thrive in New Zealand.

A 2018 Asia Pacific Small Business Survey reported that only 51 per cent of New Zealand small businesses found it easy or very easy to access external finance. Research conducted by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in collaboration with Duke University found a third of respondents reported access to finance was limiting their growth.

Following on from this survey, in mid 2018 the business.govt team engaged DNA to help develop a set of ‘business operations’ interactive tools. In addition the team indicated that they also intended to create an interactive ‘business plan tool’ to enable businesses to better understand business planning and develop effective business plans (specifically for the purposes of getting access to finance).

In early 2019 the team undertook user research (led by DNA) to better understand the relevant needs, experience, and requirements of key parties involved in the business planning/application for finance process.

This research formed the basis of two major projects:

1. Funding Explorer: a tool that helps businesses to better consider all their funding opportunities.

2. Kiwi Business Boost: A nationwide service providing a series of regional workshops and online tools to help small businesses thrive.

Both projects followed an iterative design process that involved multiple rounds of user testing throughout the design to allow us to test and refine the tools to ensure they would help solve the right problems for small business owners.

Funding Explorer

The tool is helping to ensure businesses are confident they are on the right path by making informed and balanced decisions that are critical for the success of their business.

A natural language search tool helps refine the options for the specific context of the business – helping to narrow down the options available. Results provided highlighted all the options available as well as the order in which a business should consider them. A business user was then able to review the different available funding types and develop a better understanding of each.

Kiwi Business Boost

A natural language search tool was designed and implemented on business.govt.nz to help tailor guidance, events, training and resources to the unique needs of individual businesses.

The tool allows individual businesses to define the specific challenge and level of severity they are experiencing – and also captured their business type and region. The information collected allows the tool to pull together relevant content, events and tools for the particular business context.

An underlying data model helps business.govt.nz to map content for the appropriate scenario and the business state providing relevant content to a business wanting to either grow their business overseas or find qualified people.